The changes in how business is conducted during the recent lockdown will have long lasting effects. A greater proportion of the working population will now use their home as their place of work with the effect that more systems and processes will be Cloud based and digitisation of information assets will become the norm.
Information has for decades been passed between colleagues in close physical proximity to one another, within the office environment. The infamous "water-cooler" meeting point is now relegated to zoom meetings. The way that we share and access information will change as a result. Business to business sales will require fewer sales representatives making calls on prospective buyers and in the retail environment, the shop floor will be replaced with web pages and virtual assistants.
I wish I could say that we foresaw this change coming when last year we started exploring how Artificial Intelligence (AI) could help the enquiry process in our client's knowledge centres and libraries. Over many years we have developed Enquiry Management systems, however, for the most part these relied on manual effort to log questions being asked, analyse and filter where best to focus research and to present back to the client the response or engage in an email tag contest before getting to the real needs being expressed.
Introducing Ask Soutron
AI offers a very different approach and Soutron's ASK solution incorporates cognitive intelligence, a technology that helps to learn from inputs and become ever more precise.
An enquiry that can be stated in natural English text, simply phrased without having to be correctly formed or the syntax couched in get or find statements with Boolean operators, will become the norm. This is the starting point for any interaction and by making it so simple it is easy for users to engage with a service.
AI Providing Instant Answers
What really impresses and makes for an intelligent exchange is the speed of the response. Just like a human interaction it's fast and accurate. The answer is passed back instantaneously. But how accurate and relevant is the answer, you might ask? This is no "chatbox" where the scripts are pre-ordained. This is the beauty of this new AI technology, how it has been developed and how it is applied. It is incredibly efficient and is remarkably accurate. How is this so? It is the way in which the various and multiple data sources can be gathered and presented back to the user, based on the questions asked.
Data can be gathered from web pages, from databases or documents. All can be incorporated, and from this and the questions asked the system learns what it needs to know. The more it is used the better it can respond.
Improving Service Levels
Not all enquiries can be serviced in this way. Ask Soutron is there to help triage and filter questions so that staff who are responsible for answering the truly difficult research questions have the time to do so. The 80/20 principle applies. Improved service levels and the focus of enquiry staff on the difficult stuff is what this is all about. If staff are leaving the service and with them a bunch of knowledge, AI offers a way to replace and maintain service levels.
Some years ago it was stated that any new technology becomes mature proven and accepted, within 6 months. The emergence from lockdown will dictate a new pace for the acceptance of new technologies, such is the urgency to move to new paradigms.
Soutron is a cloud-based Library, Knowledge and Information Management Solutions provider dedicated to Managing Library Transformation. As a client-driven company with strong award-winning leadership, Soutron partners with special libraries and information centres around the globe to transition them from analog to digital technologies with innovative, flexible, easy-to-use solutions.